Current and Recent Research

Our current research thematic areas include:

  • Sustainable Production e.g., systems analysis; life cycle assessment and material flows analysis; mapping value chains, optimisation of systems and processes; sustainable business models, revalorisation of wastes; technology transfer.
  • Sustainability of the Built Environment e.g., life cycle assessment; whole life carbon emissions; decision support for energy retrofit; novel business models.
  • Governance for Sustainability e.g., theory-based policy analysis; novel policy instruments; governance for innovation.
  • Sustainable Communities e.g., stakeholder engagement; embodied values of traditional goods; sustainable food production; sustainable destinations; sustainable experiential tourism.

The sections below can be expenaded to view information relating to our recent research projects. 

NewTREND - ... integrated retrofit methodology ... [H2020 2015-18]

NewTREND  - New integrated methodology and Tools for Retrofit design towards a next generation of ENergy efficient and sustainable buildings and Districts

- H2020 Project - 

NewTREND logo

NewTREND aims to develop an integrated design methodology for energy retrofit specified for use for individual buildings and at the district level. NewTREND will address all phases of the refurbishment process. To enable the effective application of the methodology, a toolkit will be developed to support each phase from concept design to implementation and operation, fostering collaboration among stakeholders, involving building inhabitants and users and establishing energy performance as a key component of refurbishments.

Project Partners:


 EU FlagFunded by the Horizon 2020 Framework programme of the European Union (Grant Agreement Number 680474)

ENTRUST - Human factor in the Energy System [H2020 2015-18]

ENTRUST - Energy System Transition Through Stakeholder Activation, Education and Skills Development

- H2020 Project, coordinated by CPPU - 

Entrust logo

ENTRUST provides mapping of Europe’s energy system (key actors & their intersections, technologies, markets, policies, innovations) and an in-depth understanding of how human behaviour around energy is shaped by both technological systems and socio-demographic factors (especially gender, age and socio-economic status).

Project Partners:

For more details see and follow on twitter @entrusth2020

 EU FlagFunded by the Horizon 2020 Framework programme of the European Union (Grant Agreement Number 657998)

EPI state of play review [NESC 2014-15]

NESC EPI report

Research conducted for and on behalf of the National Economic and Social Council

This study examined the state of play of Environmental Policy Integration (EPI) and comprised a comprehensive review of EPI literature in both academic and policy contexts, the resultant report provides an overview of the theory and conceptual development; outlines  methodologies and presents examples of current applications in policy across Europe and internationally.

The report authored by Ger Mullally and Niall Dunphy published by the National Economic and Social Council is available from the NESC website.

UMBRELLA - EE Buildings Business Model [FP7 2012-2015]

Umbrella Logo

Funded under the EU Framework 7 programme

Project Partners:

UMBRELLA will deliver a decision support tool, providing information with respect to a building energy consumption and methods for implementation and incentivisation of solutions, benefitting all stakeholders involved. This will be achieved through the development of an innovative web-based decision support application, which provides common independent evaluation tools built around new and adaptable business models.  The interface will use guided navigation to ascertain key information from users such as key stakeholders; building location; building type; new or retrofit build; owner objectives and preferences etc.  This will address the barriers that exist when considering the sustainability of the built environment, and the fact that optimising energy efficiency is often a management issue and not one of design.

For more details see

Carbon Neutral Buildings [Private donor 2010-2014]

Carbon Neutral

Funded through a private donation

The Carbon Neutral Buildings Project is a multi-strand study involving two other research groups within Civil Engineering, UCC. The project is concerned with the exploration of business, technical and technological strategies for carbon-neutral building businesses. The project involves: ex antemeasurement and computer modeling of the performance of three demonstration buildings; Identification and invention of energy retrofit solutions; multidimensional lifecycle evaluation of alternatives; and ex post evaluation of each building. Parallel and complementary to this work a review will be undertaken of the policy context for carbon neutral renovations to identify potential policy barriers.

SmartCarbon [NDRC 2011-12]

Smart Carbon

Funded through the National Digital Research Centre

Project Partners:

SmartCarbon involves the development of decision making tools based upon Multiple Decision Diagrams (MDDs) for consideration of building energy retrofit options. Candidate retrofit alternatives including associated key performance indicators (KPIs) (e.g. cost, energy, embodied carbon) can be compiled into MDDs where various performance implications can be effectively illustrated and KPI trade-offs explored.

Older Projects

Experiential Food Trail

Funded by Enterprise Ireland Food Innovation Vouchers

This project involved working in a rural region of Ireland with artisan food producers, restaurants and other relevant stakeholders to develop an experiential food ‘trail’ showcasing and promoting the quality food produced in the area and the heritage and story behind the food (in other words capturing the embodied values within their products). The network / trail was realised through an iPhone application and companion web site.


Sustainable Food Production

Funded by Enterprise Ireland 2009

Project for nine food-producing companies to improve their environmental performance and enhance the sustainability of their products through the concepts of cleaner production and industrial ecology.

Selecting Green Building Materials

Funded by Enterprise Ireland 2009

Study exploring and identifying the need for, approaches to, and resources for the selection of “greener” building materials.

Sustainable Participation? Evaluating the Role of City And County Development Boards in Local Sustainable Development

Funded under the EPA ERTDI 2004-06

Evaluation of the role of City and County Development Boards in facilitating stakeholder participation in local sustainable development.

Study of Awareness and Knowledge of Sustainable Procurement among Procurement Professionals

Funded under the EPA ERTDI 2004-06

Identification of educational and training needs for procurement professionals for the successful implementation of sustainable procurement

Environmentally Equipped Business Parks

Funded by Údarás na Gaeltachta, (Ecoland Project) 2004-05

Development of environmental auditing approach and tools for business parks.


Funded under INTERREG IIIC Programme 2004-2007

Network of rural regions and research institutions in Europe that works to further sustainable tourism destination development through the exchange of information and best practices

Strategic Mentoring Initiative for the Region of North Aegean - SMERNA

Funded under CEC DG Research - Regions of Knowledge Pilot Action 2004-6

A mentoring initiative to bridge the technology and innovation gap in North Aegean and promote technology based sustainable regional development.

European Waste and Sustainable Training for the Environment - EUROWASTE

Funded by Leonardo Da Vinci Programme, CEC DG Enterprise 2003-05

Examination of how small and medium sized enterprises can more effectively improve their environmental performance. Working with 60 SMEs – 17 from Ireland - the project developed more effective engagement and waste management strategies and produced a suite of training materials.

Development of an Environmental Risk Analysis and Management System - ERACCP

Funded under the HEA PRTLI 2003-05

Development of a science-based tool: an Environmental Risk Analysis and Critical Control Points ERACCP - to facilitate early identification and assessment of environmental risks and to develop systematic management of those risks in process industries.

Treatments of Organic Wastes as alternatives to Land spreading

Funded under the HEA PRTLI 2003-05

Assessment of a variety of innovative technologies with applications in management / treatment of organic waste

Variable rate pricing based on Pay-As-You-Throw as a tool of urban waste management (PAYT)

Funded by the CEC DG Research (FP5) 2001-03

Development of a handbook for those implementing a PAYT system outlining best circumstances in which to implement the system and a range of methods that can be adapted on a case-by-case basis to suit each situation

Sustainable Destinations? Understanding the Environmental Metabolism of Tourism in Coastal Communities

Funded under the HEA PRTLI 2000-03

Development of a concept and model of destination metabolism as a framework for researching environmental impacts on tourism destinations and elaboration of a methodology for the collection of appropriate data concerning Material Flows Analysis (MFA) for local understandings of environment-tourism interactions

Cleaner Production Promotion Unit

G1 Civil Engineering Building, School of Engineering, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork City, Ireland.